Finals week is just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team. Take a week, rest up, and get your minds off the court for a little while.
Coming off back-to-back losses to Michigan and St. John’s, the Orange looks to get back on track this weekend against Louisiana Tech. The two losses were two of the better performances the Orange has put together in the young season, yet it was still unable to pull out a win. This just goes to show the Orange has a lot to work on.
Last year at this time, Trevor Cooney was hitting nearly 70% of his 3-point attempts. This year, he is making just 28% of those threes. The team is just shooting 44% overall, which puts Syracuse in a tie for 135th in the country. That simply won’t get it done. Kaleb Joseph is turning over the ball at a high rate, and he was even benched during the last game. But these aren’t the biggest problems with the SU basketball team.
The problem for this team is that the Orange has played its two best games against Michigan and St. John’s and still came away with losses in both affairs. As currently constructed, this Orange team cannot compete with tournament caliber teams, and the Wolverines and Red Storm are not even among the nation’s best. Michigan lost to NJIT and Eastern Michigan since playing Syracuse last Tuesday.
Syracuse needs to improve as a team. Almost everyone has room to improve. Chris McCullough and Rakeem Christmas are the only players living up to lofty expectations so far. Along with turning the ball over too much, Joseph isn’t scoring as much as the team needs him to. Trevor Cooney has been so bad at shooting that Coach Boeheim should honestly think about benching him. Tyler Roberson doesn’t look like he has developed to the level he should have. There are problems all over the lineup.
And there isn’t necessarily support coming from the bench. Michael Gbinije is finally getting to what was expected of him after missing the first game of the year and looking rusty. BJ Johnson had been thrust into the starting lineup but was unable to find his shot. Plus, Ron Patterson has lived up to Boeheim’s preseason line of “He only hits his shots two of seven days a week” after a good performance against Carleton.
Bottom line, this team has major holes. Nobody on the roster seems to have progressed to where they should be or where we thought they would be. At this point, the Orange simply cannot compete with good teams and with losses to Michigan and St. John’s, coupled with some tough games against Louisiana Tech and Villanova, the Orange could find themselves in a very deep hole before conference play even starts.
Posted: Seth Goldberg